Sorata lies nearly 8,200 feet above sea level in a tropical valley at the foot of Mt. Illampu. This is a starting point for serious hikers to climb the snowcapped mountain or tackle the arduous, weeklong trek along the Camino del Oro (Trail of Gold) to the gold-mining cooperatives. Others just come to soak up the scenery and sleep in the shade of the mountains for a while. If you’re not a hiker, don’t expect too much else in the way of attractions. The deteriorating town is centered around the main square, Plaza General Enrique Penaranda, where Sorata’s annual fiesta is held on September 14.

During your stay, you might see only one or two other tourists, which many say is a lingering result of the September 2003 protests. At that time, gunfire with Bolivian police and roadblocks left dozens of foreign travelers trapped in the town for days. Despite efforts to rebuild tourism in Sorata (a new road was built between Achacachi and Sorata in 2007), the town never fully recovered. Today it serves as a getaway for La Paz weekenders and the occasional foreign explorer.

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